Beverage Companies Adopt Carbon Action Plan

At the InnoBev Global Soft Drinks Congress in Moscow, the Carbon Action Plan was launched to provide beverage companies and their suppliers with a common method for measuring carbon footprints. It also allows audited results to be combined with other environmental information in a consumer-friendly form on product labels.

This approach was developed as a joint venture between food and drink industry consultancy, Zenith International Ltd, and food safety and standards organization, NSF International. They are working with Trucost Plc, an international environmental research provider recognized by Defra (the United Kingdom's Government's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).

NSF Vice President of International Operations Koen Bontinck said, "The great advantage of our Carbon Action Plan is that it builds on the work that most companies are already doing. NSF's prime role is to check methodologies of measurement and independently verify company returns and claims."

The Carbon Action Plan is global -- extending carbon footprints right up to the shop shelf and will cover a range of sustainability ratings. Zenith Chairman Richard Hall explained: "For the first time anywhere in the world, we have proposed five key genuine green rating scores to go beyond carbon footprints. These are:

• the amount of renewable energy used
• the percentage of recycled material in the packaging
• the number of water liters used to make 1 liter of product
• the extent of a company's carbon reduction in the previous two years and
• the amount of carbon emissions verified as having been offset.

The first Carbon Action Plan pilot was undertaken by leading U.K. bottled water producer Highland Spring. "It has been an exciting challenge for us," remarked Technical Manager Bryan McCluskey. "We are assessing the environmental impact of our suppliers, including all our fuel and energy use as well as distribution and waste. As a result, we can see our total direct and embedded greenhouse gas emissions and can break them down by type and size of bottle. The biggest benefit of the CAP scheme is that we can now identify GHG hot spots in our supply chain -- by managing them, we will reduce our carbon footprint with certainty."

The Carbon Action Plan will first be implemented across the bottled water industry, and pilots are in the process of being established with leading companies in each continent. Soft drinks will be the next priority and the plan will then be rolled out to other food and drink sectors.

A new not-for-profit organization, the Carbon Action Plan Partnership, is being set up to monitor and develop the plan.

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